Saturday, 30 August 2014

Hove is where the heart is

There's a new gents hairdresser opened on the High Street. Being somebody who still has hair (no mean feat at my age) I took an interest.

He's trendy, well he'd have to be operating in Hove, but in ways I struggled with. For a start he calls himself a barber - I can remember when that meant you got a short back and sides, parted on the left and you liked it - but no ordinary barber; this fella is an 'organic barber'.

That quite excited me. I had visions of organic hair cutting, evolving to the mood. I thought, maybe he has 6Music on the wireless and just goes with the flow. I guess you'd have to hope there wasn't any Leonard Cohen playing. Then a read on and it said he uses organic produce. Suddenly I was losing the will.

There is a gullibility here in Hove which can send folk bonkers for the latest fad. Be different, and expensive, and you've cracked it basically.

Presumably he uses shampoos and lotions that mix crazy stuff together. Quinoa and Cherimoya (it's an artichoke, look it up) and lots of other nonsensically named edibles. Perhaps he uses linen towels hand woven by monks from the Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song, near Dengfeng ( we've all been there). Certainly he'll have josticks and his chakra will be a thing to adore darling!

He also puts these 'inspiration' signs in his window. Today's was "if you face the sun the shadows will be behind you". This is, of course scientifically undeniable but what else it can mean exactly left me way behind. I look forward to more inane nonsense in his windows in the future.

The one thing he didn't have - anywhere that I could see - was anything that showed him to be a good barber. It seems if you're organic and wear a kaftan you can get away with murder.

  He'll do well here. It's not called 'Hove Actually' for nothing.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Outraged of Hove

I went to a breakfast meeting this morning. Well, actually I arranged to see one of my team yesterday afternoon and he was in the pub so we met for a bit of brekky instead. He lives in the Marina and  there's only one decent cafe there but it wasn't open so we headed (at his suggestion) for the plastic drinking experience that is Wetherspoons.

There are two breakfast options. The standard one and the 'large' one. The only difference was mushrooms as far as I could see, oh and the £1.59 difference in price. But I like mushrooms so I thought 'what the hell' let's go large - I believe that's the popular vernacular of the type of people who populate these types of fake establishments.

When the breakfast come it had one mushroom on it - yes, you heard me, one mushroom.

Now my friend is a lawyer so I instantly saw an opportunity for him here. I pointed out I'd been charged £1.59 for a mushroom (and we're not talking giant mushroom here people) and grabbed the menu.

That's when I realised my error. The table of contents actually said "mushroom". I'd missed this subtle deception and been had. My pal pointed out to me that the description was right (if outrageous) and said the sausages were nice though. I could tell my plea for expertise was falling on deaf ears.

Now I know times are tough in the brewing industry, heaven knows how many pubs have closed in the time it's taken me to write this blog, but I hardly think ripping me off to the tune of £1.52 (I'm generously allowing them 7p for the mushroom) will make that much difference.

The breakfast wasn't actually that bad. My expectations were very low I must admit and edible now translates as not bad. But the sense of injustice has stayed with me. As a result I won't eat in there again. Now, having said that, I wouldn't eat in there out of choice anyway, so I guess my sanction is a bit lame.

I'm not very good at this public outrage stuff. When Cafe Rouge in the a marina banned smoking at their outside tables I took my business elsewhere by eating, instead, at the Cafe Rouge in town. See, I take rage to new heights. Others would write a letter to the Editor of some paper or other, or get a placard and stand outside. For me the boycott is as far as it goes.

Anybody fancy opening a cafe in Brighton Marina? I've got one customer for you if your mushroom pricing is reasonable........

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Back to the knitting

I am a writer of songs, well at least that's how I describe myself whenever I'm asked. Sometimes a say musician but given the fact that I can't actually play the piano anymore due to stresses in my hands that's no longer true. I'm a writer of songs.

But am I? Over the last few years my 'business' has moved into production and I now employ 37 highly paid musicians and a number of managers and seem to spend all my time flying a desk or rushing to meetings with 'executives' from this or that record company. I've even ended up baby sitting artists who fall off the lorry. Somewhere it went wrong.

In the good old days I used to sit at my piano all day tinkering till a ditty came into my head, then words and hey presto another hit was in the pipeline. Now I use software, drum machines, beat boxes and all sorts of other paraphernalia to 'generate' music. In short the who things sucks.

I do a lot of behind the scenes TV work too. I worked as a voice coach and mentor on X-Factor, then The Voice and now back with X-F again for this year. That's quite good fun ..... but it's not what I 'do'.

Years ago I wandered around the world as a band manager for two big artists. I was their Musical Director, I ran the band, I played on their records and concerts, it truly was rock and roll. But you get too old for that. I don't miss that at all. But how did I get into this soup of executive think and the touchy feely people who populate it?

I wonder if the same is true in other professions. Jobs that people loved being ruined by corporate  structures and the globalisation of this or that.

Well I've decided it's all going to change. Over the next three moths (ok it might take six)  I'm going to ditch all of it. I'm going back to sitting in a smoke filled room with my writing partner knocking out songs. No tech apart from a keyboard, no staff and bloody record execs. Just writing.

It might not work, who can say, but I'm going back to what I'm good at. I've written a lot of hit records and even one I'm quite proud of, I've won gongs, mixed with the great and the good and even class some famous folk amongst my friends list. Yet somehow I got sucked into doing more and more.

So I'm going back to the knitting as my old dad would have said. Stick your corporate life up your arse and leave me be. Two weeks ago a man with vast wealth from the music business told me I could become one of the biggest producers in the world. He thought I'd be pleased - instead it horrified me and was a wake up call.

I've always stayed below the radar. People outside the music business have no idea who I am. I like that. So I'm going back to being a big fat nobody. But a nobody without tension, stress and bloody meetings.

Let's see how it goes..........

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

I think I'll come back as a woman

We men are a funny bunch. We are still the dominant one in the species largely for historic reasons; we are stronger and violent and in the past that's what determined top dog status. Obviously we are no more intelligent and certainly we are less practical but nonetheless, we sit in the position of power - and to be honest most of us quite  like it.

It's a confusing time. I was taught to open doors for ladies but now it's not PC, we're all lads together and actresses are no longer actresses, they're actors now like us blokes.

In the middle of last week the downside of this cultural Alpha Male thing hit home to me when I had to do a bit of car management. You know the kind of thing; we have a garage and a drive. Hers sits in the garage, mine on the drive, even though hers is a Mini and mine's a Porsche, cos I'm a gentleman right? So I have to shuffle them if she needs hers.

I did the car waltz as I've done many times before but, as they have to be left on the road for a minute or so while I shuffle, I turn the hazard flashers on and, when popping hers back in the garage, I forgot to turn them off.

Three days later she needed it and the battery was flat as a cows bowel movement.

So the Alpha Male swings into action. I went to Halfords and bought a charger for £90, plugged it in and then spent two days checking it.

Of course what then ensued was my punishment for being a 'stupid man'. I had to play chauffeur for two days, taking her to the nail bar, the massage parlor, to see a friend for coffee and the supermarket run was achieved in a car with a 'boot' the size of a gerbil, by piling everything in the back (shop couldn't wait evidently).

She won't drive my car - it's much to powerful evidently. So this fragile little woman had to be driven around (cos it was all my fault) and I had to suffer.

I got it started yesterday and then drove it round mindlessly for two hours to make sure the charge was topped up. My pain and punishment is now complete.

Sometimes I wish we could get rid of this dominant handle, I mean the feminists think we should, but I realize women quite like it. There are upsides to being 'helpless' and 'in need of looking after'.

Think I'll come back as a woman........

Let's have another go

Today Nigel Farage may be selected to fight a seat at the next General Election. A seat he'll probably win. But for UKIP that's about as much as they can hope for. Ok, maybe they'll end up with two or three MP's but nothing that will matter.

The reason why his roller coaster will see the wheels fall off is simple. Whilst UKIP were a one policy party they were unstoppable. If they had stayed just that and said 'elect us, we'll sort out the Brexit then resign' they might have seen a different result. But they didn't. Instead they tried for government, tried to be a party with all the bells and whistles and, quite frankly, they picked a bunch of racist idiots to achieve it. The quality of their candidates is astoundingly poor, even Nige would admit it.

The UKIP mission is gone as far as I can see. Who in Scotland, Wales or N Ireland would vote for leaving the EU; they are left wing to the core and so is the EU. It makes no sense.

So here's a new plan for you Nige. The EIP - the English Independence Party. Go for the English vote. For exit from both the UK and the EU.

Let's face it the UK no longer works for England. The other bits have their own assemblies and, after the referendum in Scotland, they'll have just about every power you can think of. But not England.....

England is a Conservative nation yet we suffer Labour governments voted in by the Scots and the Welsh and then watch as they wreck our economy. Enough is enough.

So the EIP, a single mission party which will give England back governance of itself. England doesn't need the EU, neither does it need the Scots and the welsh. They could stay in the UK and stay in Europe - they'd get tons of grants - and we could leave, consolidate our strength as the finance capital of the world, get the shale gas going and be a power again.

The balance of power in the world is shifting. Away from the west to the east. It can't be stopped and shouldn't be. England, unlike Europe has history there. Good history. The Arabs like putting their money here as do the Chinese. The chinks like our efficiency, our financial products and our workforce. And please, don't tell me the old Commonwealth will rush to our door UKIP people cos they won't. But that doesn't matter. The USA will turn up and we will also have Russian pals; maybe, just maybe we can use the NORC (look it up) and get a position as middle men in what will be the biggest money tree in the next 100 years.

Then case for England to leave the EU is hard to refute. The case for the UK to leave is neither solid nor supported by our little chums to the west and north of us.

So Nige, how about a whole new slant. How about EIP?

Ode to Celebrity

I don't do celebrity gossip. I am blessed to know many folk who are in the public eye and number many as good friends but to chatter about them is, to my old fashioned sensibilities, a little crass.

But I thought I should drop a little insight into that world here without mentioning how I know what I know and, if you fancy, invite you to comment.

People are shouting a lot on Twitter at the moment about the end of the world being on us thanks to the Muslim hoard. They tell us our society will be undermined and we need to send all the johnnies home (despite the fact that this is their home) or some such bollocks. But funnily enough on one level I do agree with them; we are living through an era where our society is being undermined, when the values we all hold dear are being shovelled out of the window. But it has nothing to do with Muslims and everything to do with the boys in blue.

Coppers have been pretty upset of late by the government daring to suggest that their Association is corrupt. They also got themselves in a fizz when they backed a bunch of lying bizzies who were trying to get a Minister sacked for riding his bike. They are now getting their own back.

Coppers are no different to most folk. If they get a chance to meet somebody famous they get all excited. The thing is though that they can arrange it whereas you probably can't. They get to meet these folk by arresting them. Usually some sad, attention seeking tosser with a compensation lawyer in tow has turned up and said they got their arse felt and whilst it's not much of a claim the fuzz know that by using the press they can get a celeb to sit down and chat to them. They might even be able to find a bunch of other fantasists who are willing to say stuff and that means they get to meet the celeb a few more times, get an autograph, maybe even a song.

Then they line up all the compensation lawyers and instead of shooting them (that would be public service) they call the CPS and ask this left wing bunch of clowns if they fancy taking it on. Of course the CPS has become an ally of the beak, they've had cuts too so anything to upset the apple cart and they're up for it. So we have a trial.

The pigs feed the press with everything before the trial so the jury are either just back from a sight seeing trip to Syria or they've made their minds up before it starts. Now this used to be illegal -  but now that we operate guilty until proven innocent it's all fine.

The well briefed witnesses, who have been coached by the Met on how this will all go down, give their best attempt at outIining why they need the celebs money and the prosecution keeps their identities secret so the defence can't take a closer look at them and establish that they are nut jobs with attention needs (and money needs) so the jury, who've already made their mind up, don't get to know anything about the witnesses. Then the celeb stands up and gets hung, drawn and quartered.

Oh how they laugh down the pub as they eagerly leaf through Heat magazine trying to decide who to go after next. It's a great job and could see them through to retirement and the fat pensions that are at the centre of this whole business.

But they are unstoppable. They have looked at David Bowie, Ozzy and the boys, Duran Duran and even Sir Bruce. Meatloaf, the front man from the Bay City Rollers (yup he's still alive) and even John Craven. Everybody who has ever been famous is fair game (that includes you Noel). And game it is; endless investigations costing millions.

During the 80's and 90's I spent years on tour with some of the biggest acts in the world. As band manager I had clout both on stage and off. And just about every night I got offers from women who wanted to climb into the after match party by offering to climb into my pants. Some I accepted, most I didn't. But I cannot remember where or when these ambitious young ladies featured in my bed sheets. It happened, it still does, but nothing was about abuse. I also never asked to see proof of age but I'm fairly confident they were all legal (but how can I be certain?).

The fact is maybe you, the great unwashed, are jealous that folk like me got to bag a few blondes along the way, but I doubt you are so sad as to try and put me behind bars simply because my bedpost score is better than yours. But the blue meanies are. Anything to make society crumble. Anybody is sport for these fuckers.

But maybe his time they've met their match. With each case the celeb world shares info. Cliff has been on their radar for quite some time and he was ready for them. His lawyers have already pointed out at South Yorkshire Plod may have breached his judicial rights. Yewtree has been warned they will expose the accusers, and Cliff is calling in some favour cards. So if, and I say if, this lad who got fondled at a Christian gathering in Sheffield is telling the truth (which I doubt for reasons I cannot tell you) he will find things a little different as will Mr Plod.

And now that the celeb lawyers have got their heads around what is happening Yewtree might find that it's 'jobs for life' strategy isn't quite how it's going to be. Rolf has an appeal in and the substance thats in it is really worrying the CPS, even Stuart Hall may be on his way back to take a poke at them.

I hate Plod, I have no time for governments who don't keep them in line and my contempt for the press is immeasurable. I know this lot will all now come down on the like a ton of bricks and, in the middle of all that, the BBC is going to have a very tough time. Celebrities are operating a silent protest, turning down offers to fill those never ending chat show couches. But at the end of the day it could all have been so different.

The police have the lowest approval rating ever. Very few people in this country trust them to be fair and do what's best for the populace. They could have improved all that but instead they've stepped up the stakes and now there's no going back.

This will not end well.